12 New Year’s Resolutions for your School Website
We want your school website to be the best it can be! Here are 12 ways to make your website even better in 2018:
1. Give visitors what they want
Most of your school website visitors are parents looking for something specific. Calendars, teacher pages, bell schedules, fees, sports teams, volunteering, and absences are terms parents search for again and again. Your website should give them all the details they need. If parents keep asking you the same questions by phone or in person, it could be because they can’t find the answer on your website!
2. Use your homepage the right way
Your homepage is valuable real estate. Use it to promote the most important, timely information and events like exams, parent teacher interviews, back to school dates, or registration info. Keep homepage text brief and link it to another page where visitors can get all the details.
3. No more clip art!
Clip art was once a very popular and easy way to add images to school websites, but these days it makes your website look out of date while showing none of your school’s unique personality. Avoid it! If you don’t have a suitable image, using no image at all is better than popping in some clip art.
4. Make a school registration section
Kindergarten registration is coming up fast! Think of everything a parent needs to know about: deadlines, forms, open houses, after-school care, busing. Build a registration section on your website that answers all of these questions. With a few adjustments you can use the same registration content again every year.
5. Use great images
Images get an emotional response from visitors. Use high quality photos in your website banner and on webpages. School website images should focus on students engaged in learning or school activities. If you don’t have high quality images of your own students, purchase a few stock images.
6. Organize your content
Your visitors want something specific and they want to find it fast! Think about your web pages from a visitor’s perspective. Are they grouped into categories that fit together? Do their page names accurately describe what content they contain? If your website menu is logical and easy to skim through, your visitors will have more satisfying trips to your site.
7. No text in images
Uploading a picture of text is not a good way to communicate online. When pictures of text get resized for mobile devices the print can get very small. Visitors using screen reading software can’t get the message because the image contains no real text, just a picture of text. If you have something important to communicate, put the text on a web page, not in an image.
8. Link to teacher websites
Parents and students appreciate teachers who maintain online calendars, classroom information and downloadable assignments. Your school website should be a central place where visitors can link out to all of your teachers’ websites. Make sure teacher website links are up to date and easy to find.
9. Use social media
Today’s parents are very active on social media. When you add a news post or a calendar event to your website, share it out to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well. More people will see it that way, and including a link in your social media post will attract people back to your website for all the details.
10. Clean up old content
Now is a good time to take stock of the content on your site. Is there anything that’s out of date or inaccurate? Do you still have back to school information on your website in January? Update or remove website content that’s gone stale, but don’t worry about blog posts. A blog post clearly shows the date it was posted and you can leave it on your website forever.
11. Make a schedule
Start by listing the dates of the most important happenings at your school throughout the year: first day of class, parent-teacher interviews, holidays, concerts, exams, registration deadlines, and anything else that comes to mind. For each item, think of the questions parents will have and how you can support them with good website content. Scheduling your web content in advance makes the writing and publishing much less stressful.
12. Show off!
Don’t be shy; bragging about your school’s accomplishments is a good thing! Use text and images to show all the great programs, facilities, clubs, teams, field trips and special events on offer at your school. It keeps your parents and students coming back to your website, and lets new families know your school is the right place for them!